By Andrea Sinclair firstname.lastname@example.org -
Celebrating 100 years is a feat of endurance for any organization, and one which Trinity Missionary Baptist Church members commemorated by praising the past while looking forward to the future.
The El Paso County Board of Commissioners recognized Trinity’s centennial July 16 with a proclamation read before the congregation Sunday by Peggy Littleton, District 5 Commissioner.
“It’s an honor to be included in such a historical moment for our community,” Littleton said. “Trinity has always been an integral part of Colorado Springs’ ministries.”
More than 250 sang in praise and celebrated Trinity’s history, from its inception in 1913 by Rev. Tillmore and 12 members to the congregation’s influential efforts during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Bishop Acen Phillips, 78, has been involved with Trinity for almost 60 years and clearly remembered the time when segregation was most obvious during Sunday’s services.
“The time of the day when we should all have been coming together, everyone was standing apart,” Phillips said. “Trinity was one of the pace-setters for the community, expanding the cause of human justice and equality through ministry.”
Trinity was the first African American group to broadcast services and special events on live television in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Trinity’s overall message and mission, said 15-year pastor Jim Dotson, is that love solves and overcomes every challenge and hardship, quoting Matthew 5:44, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
“I got to love those who hate me,” Dotson said. “There are no barriers for love, and through that love we find in Christ, we survive the test of time. We endure every obstacle.”
That love is demonstrated through the congregation’s wide-open policy, said deacon Eric Carnell, who’s been with Trinity for four years.
“We have members from all walks of life, of all ethnicities, all social and economic backgrounds. Our doors are always open,” Carnell said. “People from Colorado Springs, and as far as Peyton and Pueblo, join us every weekend for fellowship and to praise Christ.”
Phillips stressed the importance of stopping to celebrate how far the community and congregation have come in the past 100 years, but said it’s also an opportunity to evaluate where efforts are necessary and how to strengthen Trinity.
“We must learn to walk together, to go beyond just having relationships with each other and actually getting to know each other,” Phillips said. “True integration will only happen when we disregard color and race and consider who we are by our character.”